Elena Vaitsekhovskaya’s interview with Maria Sotskova. About universiry, Olympic season, new programs and new goals.
I know that all your close ones have already got used to you taking all important decisions about your own life independently. How did it happen this time, when it was necessary to choose the university?
– Same way. As soon as I went to the eleventh grade, I started thinking which university I wanted to enter. I didn’t feel like going to the institute of physical education, and I was thinking, what do I really want? The year before last I had an interesting experience as a choreographer: I did a program for a little girl. It occurred to me: why not try to enter GITIS, Tchaikovskay’s ice choreography department? But it turned out that Elena Anatolyevna doesn’t have a group this year. And I got to the choreographers. The faculty “Ballet master”.
How do you imagine the process of further education?
– Very vaguely. I will find it out September 1st. Psychologically, I’m ready for the fact that the load will be greater than it was in school. But I already talked to the professors, asked if it is possible to skip classes in some cases, I was told that there is no big problem, but I will have to pass exams and tests like all other students. It doesn’t scare me, I did it at school, I studied mostly external. Of course, I will try to attend lectures: classes at the institute start at 8 am and go until 10 pm, and I will have such an opportunity.
Was it nervous to have exams in GITIS?
– Oh yeah. It was a creative contest and an interview. At first we were asked to perform improvisation on the theme “Gypsy girl”, then it was necessary to come up with two dances, and after the interview they asked me to sing. Since I have no musical talents, it was probably very fun. Fortunately, this exam did not have a large audience.
What were you asked about during the interview?
– They asked me to tell the whole story of the ballet. You can talk on this topic for days, because the story is long and very interesting. I tried to put it all in short and generally got a good points. 97 out of 100 for the creative contest and 87 for the interview. In fact, it was so interesting to prepare for the exams that I actually spent all training camp reading the most varied ballet literature, watched historical films about ballet, about choreographers, about dancers. Found a lot of factors that resonate with figure skating. Therefore, I can’t wait to start studying.
How quickly did you come up with the programs that Peter Tchernyshev did for you this season?
– We did both programs in late May. The free program is Summer Time, jazz. The short program is latina. I insisted on it, although Elena Germanovna (Buyanova) was against it.
– Because she didn’t see me in this artistic image. But I wanted so much, I dreamed of this idea so much. Once I’ve already had latina – Black Magic Woman. But at that time, I was still very young and could hardly convey all the heat of the dance. Now I really want to bring something new into my artistic images, give myself some new impuls for development. So the audience and judges would see that I can be different. So I insisted on latina.
Have you muscles hurt for a long time because of unusual movements?
– I prepared everything beforehand. At the end of the season I did ballroom dances on the floor, danced a lot, tried to make myself more dancing for the future program. I understood that if I intend to take Latin American rhythms and did the program, it’s necessary to do it well. So it was necessary to prepare the body. I was ready for the fact that it would be hard. It was easier with the free dance. The choreography process was very fast, everything was going well from the very beginning. And in general, everyone is happy with the result.
Last year, on the example of Alina Zagitova, showed how important the advantage in difficulty is. Is there a room for grows in terms of complicating your own programs?
– For the current season there’s no such goal. It is possible, but the main task is to show that the Olympic season gave me a definite push forward, that I grew up and grew up as a figure skater. That I can be completely different on the ice, not the same as th judges and the audience used to see me. At the same time, I closely follow the competitors, watch their performances, note something for myself. For example, (Canadian) Gabrielle Daleman skates so quickly. And I try to develop this power in myself.
And what can you take from Alexandra Trusova, who starts the season with three quadruple jumps?
– Here I can only applaud and admire. I can’t jump quads for now.
But did you try?
– In the past year I tried the quad salchow, at the very end of the season. I realized that if to work on it a lot , it is possible to do this jump. But then we’re preparing for the Olympics and I didn’t consider it necessary to learn a quad jump at all costs.
I saw your feet without skates and concluded that the process of breaking into new boots was extremely difficult.
– This problem lasts for the third season. I can’t help it, it’s probably already chronic. My skin is thin, it constantly rubs and I have to put special silicone plasters in the boots, and besides them I have such homemade “donuts” there – from three sponges for washing dishes. But in general, breaking into new boots it’s a standard process. I try to press new boots for a week, because they are very tough, then everything goes fine, I almost don’t feel pain. By the end of the season, however, even the toughest boots turn into rags. They also become wet in the process of training, and get soften.
Mao Asada usually prepared two pairs boots for the season.
– From time to time I also have such idea, but there wasn’t such need. It’s hard to prepare two pairs. Because while you’re skating in one, the second one shrinks very quickly and you have break into it again.
Have you managed to get some rest from figure skating this summer?
– Yes, in Turkey. For the second year in a row we went on vacation together with Polina Tsurskaya.
But you’re competitiors on the ice. How does it work with friendship?
– To be honest, when Polina joined our group, I was a little afraid that the daily competition would affect our friendship. It turned out otherwise. Joint trainings united us even more. Sport and life are different things.
But anyway you’re skating at the different ice. Or is it not always like this?
– Well, I don’t care who I skate with, because during the practice I practically don’t see anything around: I focus only on myself, on my tasks. We really mostly skate on different ice, so I don’t even see what she’s doing. And she doesn’t see what I’m doing. But I will honestly say: when we are on the same ice, it motivates me.
As for our communication outside the rink, we are discussing absolutely other things, not related to figure skating at all. Or some common problems. Like how to lose weight.
How do you solve this problem for yourself?
– I close the refrigerator. And my mouth. For me there is no difficulty in this, although there was a period when I was always very hungry. This is probably the very period of transition, which is so often talked about. When you constantly think only about food and say to yourself: “No, you can’t, take your hands off the food.” Earlier, when I was little, I ate a lot of everything and it didn’t affect me at all. At that time it seemed to me that all the talks about weight are some kind of nonsense. But then I quickly realized that “nonsense” was capable of playing a very serious joke with an athlete. One extra kilogram and it becomes much harder for the legs to push themselves out, the risk of injury immediately increases. Therefore, I try to keep my weight within certain limits and don’t go beyond them. The question is only in the proper arrangement of priorities: either you want to eat and you eat, or you want to skate and somehow limit yourself. My mother helps me to organize nutrition, but I try to do it myself. Now on you can find anything you need on the Internet. It is clear that there is a lot of nonsense, but it’s easy if you approach this process thoughtfully.
You talk like a person who is responsible for his own life and clearly understands what he wants in this life.
– It has already come to me. Probably, when I decided to move from Svetlana Panova to Elena Buyanova. At that time, I thought a lot about the fact that since I’m going to change something in my life, I must fully understand what I’m doing and what consequences this may have.
Victoria Sinitsina not so long ago said in an interview that a sportswoman should has a bitch inside her, because bitchiness attracts people and helps to cope with difficulties.
– I agree with Vika. I know that there are skaters who can skate well only when they’re angry. It’s not about me. Simply with age you understand that in the sport of great achievements, there are a lot of competitors and you need to catch every opportunity, every chance. That 30 people claim for three spots in the Olympic team and the kind and soft will sit at home. Here, not only bitchiness will awake. You just have to go and tear everyone on the ice.
How good are you in this?
– At first it was hard, by nature, I’m completely different person. Then everything began to turn out: you see the goal, you go for it and everything else doesn’t bother you at all. I wanted to go to the Olympics, so other people’s interests simply didn’t exist for me at the Russian Championships. Who was there, how they skated I don’t remember at all. I just went to the ice and fought for every jump, every step.
What is your goal this season?
– As always, I want to do my job perfectly, so that I could be happy with myself. Well, of course, I want to get on the podium at the European and World Championships. In this respect, I have very strong dissatisfaction.
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Even though you got to the Olympics?
– Yes. I got invaluable experience in Pyeongchang, but I was disappointed with the result. The most difficult thing was that I failed my short program. For me it was a complete surprise, because throughout the season I skated the short program perfectly. And then … The next day was a day of self-flagellation for me. I understood that I needed to get together, throw everything out of my head, but I couldn’t. I probably wouldn’t have been able to cope with the situation at all without my coaches. They talked to me a lot: “Masha, come to your senses!” Thanks to them I went on the free program more or less in an adequate state.
This is experience, when you need to get yourself together at any cost, show fighting qualities, and I think it’s priceless. Although all this was very difficult.
Two seasons you spent the first half significantly better than the second. Have you tried to understand why it happens?
– Yes, we analyzed this with coaches. Personally, I see the problem in that I give too much at the Russian Championships: I leave everything on the ice, and then I just don’t have enough strength to quickly recover. But it is impossible not to do that, the price of mistake at these competitions is too high. I thought a lot about this issue and realized that this problem can be solved. I will not take it out to the public now, but it seems to me that I found the opportunity to work on these mistakes.
How much are you “thick-skinned” in terms of the criticism that skaters sometimes face on the Internet? Do you read what people write about you?
– To be honest, I read everything.
– I’m interested in people’s opinions. This does not mean that I will listen to everything, for this I have close people, but knowing some things is useful. I don’t mean comments in social networks to some photos from the holidays, like “Everyone works and Masha rests.” If I don’t show my training process on the network, this doesn’t mean that I don’t work.
Do you post your photos from vacations because you want to or because it’s fashionable now?
– For me Instagram is a kind of album that I do for myself and my friends. For people to have the opportunity to see some interesting places that I visit, to see some interesting things that happens in my life. I like it.
And during the competition do you limit yourself in Internet activity?
– Yes, I turn off the phone on the day of performance. I don’t want to be distracted, I try to isolate myself from everything. On the day of the competition, for me there are only competitions. Anything can happen, including not very pleasant. It’s better to find out about this after, not before going out on the ice.
by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya for rsport.ria.ru